Survey Finds That Personal Experiences With Inequality, Health Help Shape Gen Z Career Choices

July 11, 2022 | By Kevin Gray

A close up of a survey questionnaire.

TAGS: nace insights, student attitudes, surveys,

Personal experience is a factor for how Gen Z high school and college students determine the industries they want to work in and the organizations they prefer to work for, according to results of the 2022 Career Interest Survey conducted by the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS).

At least one out of five students participating in the survey reported their career choice has been influenced by their personal experience with health-related issues (24%), racial inequality (22%), or gender inequality (20%).

“It is critical, because Gen Z is more aware of the fact that there is inequality in the world, particularly here in the United States,” says NSHSS President James Lewis.

“The ability for Gen Z students to say how these issues are impacting them personally is helping to shape who they are. Universities and corporations need to be aware that these influencing factors will help determine where a young professional wants to work and engage in a work environment.”

Lewis says that organizations that want to attract top talent should implement policies that address these issues and make their approach evident in their culture.

In addition, NSHSS found that as the most diverse American generation yet, Gen Z is looking for potential employers that reflect and respect that diversity. Respondents indicate that the most important quality in a potential employer is the fair treatment of all employees (across genders and races), followed by quality of life, employer flexibility, and corporate social responsibility.

As to their own social responsibility, Gen Z students are most interested in impacting the world in the areas of human rights (35%) and social justice (34%), but also in science/technology innovation (34%) and healthcare and health-related issues (34%).

NSHSS conducted this part of its 2022 Career Interest Survey with Researchscape International from February 13 to March 7, 2022. While more than 12,600 participants around the world took this survey, this analysis focuses on the 11,495 respondents in the United States who are in high school or are college aged.